About me…

By day I’m an anthropologist.  I dig up bones.  I measure them.  I massage the data, then make my best guess about who they belonged to.  Sometimes, I try to figure out how they got that way.  It’s the sort of thing I used to do by collecting fingerprints and bullets, but now I play with skeletons and demographics.  Having worked on war crimes investigations, my research tends to focus on the wholesale methods of making bones.

By night, I’m a writer.  Mixing my experience as a crime scene investigator in with other elements, I change the names and stir vigorously.  The process yields everything from mystery to horror to urban fantasy to science fiction. I try to tell enough of a lie to keep things interesting, and enough of the truth to get at the heart of the matter. What I mean to do here is explore some of those intersections:  reality vs. story, good vs. evil vs. stupid, and the layering of traits that make characters compelling in both a novel and real life. Since reality trumps invention on a regular and rather frightening basis, I will also be looking at the roles of coincidence, probability, dumb luck, and pure plain weirdness.

I live in San Francisco’s Bay and Delta region, so I’ll be mostly be talking about local cases. My first series of posts, however, will deal with a string of homicides that stretched out almost the entire length of California.  Some are world-famous, and some are still (officially) unsolved.  And one took place in my home town.


5 thoughts on “About me…

  1. Fascinating. I’m a sleuther and love solving mysteries and discovering connections. Your writing and research is well done, brief enough, and entertaining. Thankyou.


    • Hello,

      Nice and interesting piece as regards Joel Pugh/Manson connection. As you probably know, I wrote the book “Coming Down Fast” and investigated the death as far as I could. I spoke with most in Joel’s circle and his family, and it is clear that Joel’s relationship with Sandy was defunct around the time of her defection to Charlie’s mob. Similarly, Joel never met Manson or travelled to Spahn Ranch or the other places the Mansonites were based, although Sandy did attempt to hook up with him (according to his friends) to “acquire” his surname for her child, reportedly, for social security reasons. The reasons are given in the book, and on my blog here. http://joelpughcharlesmanson.blogspot.co.uk/

      So, as has been suggested numerous times over the years, did Bruce Davis murder Joel? That is probably only really known to Bruce Davis. There was obviously no way i could go that far to accuse him, and while he *may* have been in the south east of England at the time of Joel’s death, there is a strong body of evidence to suggest that Joel was deeply depressed, which would account for his death.
      Joel’s brother and father – both physicians – were happy with the coroner’s decision and came over to the UK shortly after to talk with the authorities.

      Of interest, I wrote to Bruce for him to clarify any knowledge of Joel Pugh, or indeed his movements in the UK. He failed to respond.

      Best regards from the UK!

      Simon Wells


  2. Congratulations! I have nominated you for The Most Inspirational Blogger Award. I think it is essential for somebody to ask the hard questions about lingering cold cases. Clearly you have the investigative ability and a good eye for connecting the dots in this tangled mess you’re writing about. I look forward to reading more.


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